UCIL boss says sabotage led to gas disaster; GoI suppressed facts

Insists that faulty design, accident were not responsible

BHOPAL : More than 30 years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, the then Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) production manager S.P. Chaudhary told the District Court of Bhopal on Wednesday that it was sabotage – and not an accident or faulty design –  that led to the leakage of the lethal poisonous MiC gas from the pesticide-manufacturing plant of the company on December 2/3, 1984.

Chaudhary was deposing in the court during hearing on an appeal filed by UCIL officials against a lower court order convicting them and sentencing them to two years’ imprisonment.

Earlier, UCIL vice president Kishore Kamdar and MD Vijay Gokhale had taken the plea that they were posted at Mumbai office of the company when the gas leaked out in Bhopal. Next hearing will be on August 19.

The then CJM P. Mohan Tiwari, on June 7, 2010, had convicted  sevem UCIL officials and awarded them two years of imprisonment and fine under section   304 A, IPC.

To date, only three theories were in circulation regarding what caused the disaster  – accident, defect in plant design or non-adherence to safety measures. But surprisingly, Chaudhary told the court that it  was sabotage and also that it was  intentionally suppressed and the theory of plant defect was propagated for face saving on international fora.

Defence counsel Anirban Roy, who appeared on behalf of Chaudhary, said, “It was a clear-cut case of sabotage. There was defect in the plant. The Government of India (GoI) propagated the theory of design defect and filed the suit in US Court in 1985.  Unfortunately, theory of sabotage was intentionally suppressed.”

Roy said, “It was government of India which had appointed Dr S. Varadarajan to probe design defects. Dr Varadarajan was heading a 16-member scientific team.”

They will have to prove it: CBI CBI counsel Aijaz Khan said, “It is the first time that the sabotage theory has been put up. The onus of proving it will be on the defence.”

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